Fighting Back Saves Navistar Truck Plant

Chatham, Ontario

September 3, 2003

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Fighting Back Saves Navistar Truck Plant
Fighting Back Saves Navistar Truck Plant
dated September 3, 2003

       Chatham, Ontario
September 4, 2003

       The fight to keep the Navistar International Truck plant in Chatham, Ontario open has been won. Today it was announced the company is getting 65 million dollars in loans and grants from the federal and provincial governments and has committed to spend another $161 million during the next ten years in plant upgrades, research and development and training.
       The 750 members of CAW Local 127 who work at Navistar greeted the news with mixed emotions.

Randy Crow
CAW Local 127

       "Oh Great. Now I can finally spend some money. It has been two years without spending any money because we don't know what to do so finally, hopefully we're going to have a normal life."

Doug Deneau
Navistar Plant Chair

       "I am ecstatic! This is probably one of the happiest days of our lives here."               

Mark Vlasschaert
CAW Local 127

       "Great! Like I say, I'm going to hit that damn golf ball a mile tonight."

Tony Davis
CAW Local 127

       "I'm just basically relieved. Let's get it over with and get it behind us now and get on with our lives."

Rhona Stewart
Navistar Bargaining Committee

       "People are just, wow! It's like when a war ends. What do you really see. Not celebrations in the street. You see shell-shocked people walking around. That's what it feels like. That's what it has been like."

Rick O'Rourke
Navistar Plant Vice Chair

       "I hope this lasts for a long time for these guys. I hope that plant is there 30 years from now. I hope my grandkids get to work there and they get 30 years."

       For the 1,200 workers on lay-off there is now hope that some will be called back. Rose Balazsy has been laid off for two years.

Rose Balazsy
CAW Local 127

       "Oh yeah I think I'll be back. Soon hopefully. It's been like a roller coaster, one day oh you're going back, one day you're not going back So it's been tough but now I'm pretty excited."

       Brian Stewart, a 27 year veteran of Navistar.

Brian Stewart
CAW Local 127

       "The brothers here with 30 years, now they can get out. Guys like me and a few other guys with 27 years at least now we have a chance to get our pension and get out. So yeah it means a lot to a lot of us guys."

       CAW Local 127 president, Charlie Formosa, says the credit for saving the plant belongs to the workers and their solidarity on the picket lines, in the face of violence and goon tactics by the company along with the solidarity of the entire CAW.

Charlie Formosa
Pres. CAW Local 127

       "None of this would have been possible without the focus that was maintained by the workers at International. The dedication by that committee. Never losing sight and never ever giving up They continued to challenge the governments, their campaign to the government that they need to intervene in this thing to keep these jobs in Chatham."

       As the Navistar workers look to the future with optimism, Doug Deneau, the plant chair said they are also determined that they will continue their fight to protect workers rights and freedoms.

Doug Deneau
Navistar Plant Chair

       "The elections are coming up. Federal elections, provincial election will be here shortly on October 2nd and the municipal elections, with all the downloading."
       "We have to get politically involved to get the government to change the legislation, the anti-scab legislation that they tore up. Get an auto policy of some sort in place so that our jobs and the foundation of our communities are protected. That's the first fight we have."

CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."

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